Late in 2011 I launched on "reading" the series Outlander by Diana Gabladon. I have the word "reading" in quotes because I am primarily an audio book listener.
For those not familiar with this series, Outlander is the story of nurse called Claire at the close of World War II, who accidentally time travels back to the 1700's and falls in love with a Scottish Highlander called Jamie Fraser. And thus begins an engrossing story that is both a love story, an adventure, and a historical study of life during that time - with a little bit of fantasy and sexy love scenes thrown in for good measure. (and, oh my, the love scenes are so juicy! My daughter, if she is reading this post is probably rolling her eyes right now ... but her mom is just as human as she is ... so there!!)
The series is currently at 6 very large books with the first book titled Outlander. A 7th book is promised for 2013 - and it is also promised to not be the last book! (Yeah!! - Thank you Ms. Gabaldon). If you love massive family sagas, epic love stories, swash buckling adventure, and peeks into the way people lived during the 1700s, then this is a story for you.
With the largeness of this story, I was very encouraged by the author's ability to introduce new characters at a pace that is easy to follow. So often the author feels compelled to throw all the characters into the first few chapters, leaving me with a dizzy feeling of wondering who is who well into the body of the work. To compensate for that, I often write down a list of characters and relationships so that I can keep track as the story evolves. Ms. Gabaldon paces these introductions so well that I never seem to loose track of the characters.
The unabridged recordings are massive, as you would expect from the physical size of the books. I am listening to Book 4 right now - The Drums of Autumn. It is approximately 44 hours long. All the books fall in that range of listening time - so based on the 6 books currently released, there is about 260 glorious hours of listening. The series is worth every minute - filled with wonderful detail, well constructed characters, and exciting adventure. You will be glad the story doesn't seem to end!
The narrator for the audio version is voice artist, Davina Porter. She is excellent - handles the variety of voices and accents with ease. As with most audio books, the narrator is very important to the success of the recording. And successful she is, because she is almost invisible to the listener who is focused on the story telling rather than the narrator.
So this is a Thumbs Up from me for this wonderful series.
Note: for more information about this series - including all book titles and summaries, follow the link at the beginning of this post.